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King of California

A surreal oddity that jells
By TOM MEEK  |  September 26, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for King of California.

Back in 1975, Michael Douglas produced a small social commentary about the state of America as told through the trials of an eccentric caged in a sanatorium. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest chewed it up at the Academy Awards. This time, as actor rather than producer, Douglas fills the Jack Nicholson role as Charlie, a free-spirited coot with a 15-year-old daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) who’s been toiling at McDonald’s to pay the mortgage while Charlie’s been in lock-up for two years. Now out, Charlie’s still not quite right; he believes that Spanish gold is hidden in an underground waterway below a Costco. And so as dad persists in scuba-diving in shit, Miranda (Tempest analogies no doubt intended) surrenders her childhood for her father’s delusional shenanigans. Kooky as it sounds, the two actors forge a palpable familial bond, and director Mike Cahill tosses in some nice quirks to make this surreal oddity jell.
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